Lillie Branch Kennedy
Lillie Branch-Kennedy is the Executive Director of the Virginia-based Resource Information Help for the Disadvantaged & Disenfranchised (RIHD). Lillie founded RIHD, an award-winning all-volunteer statewide organization committed to eradicating racial bias from the criminal justice sentencing process, in 2002, after her son was sentenced to an egregiously long sentence for a first time offense. She also founded the Mobile Justice Tour, now in its fifth year. The tour brings criminal justice reform advocates to various locations around the state where workshops are held to train and encourage participants to work to reduce the level of societal disenfranchisement of the formerly incarcerated and persons with a record in Virginia.
While studying public administration at Brooklyn College, Lillie obtained an internship that led to a 30-year federal government career with the Internal Revenue Service, United States Postal Service and United States Defense agencies. She is an active member of several social justice organizations, including the NAACP, Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People and Families Movement, Nation Inside and National Council for Incarcerated Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.
Known for her passionate advocacy, Lillie has been recognized for her commitment to justice and is the recipient of the 2011 Petra Fellow Award, the 2014 Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority MLK Jr. Community Service Award, and 2015 NAACP Freedom Fund Community Award (Henrico County).
Her current campaigns focus on correcting two key sentencing issues of the past that remain uncorrected and affect thousands of people currently in Virginia state prisons. Though there are many legislative uncertainties, Lillie remains undaunted.